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Ma Barker's Killer Brood

Overview

Bill Karn's Ma Barker's Killer Brood (1959) comes to DVD from Alpha Video in a clean, well-mastered edition that not only looks and sounds surprisingly good but comes with the original trailer! This is as close to an authorized release as Alpha has ever issued -- there are some horizontal scratches adjacent to some of the edit points in the cleanest reels, and the middle reels have some vertical scratches as well, but the picture is always sharp and the source is otherwise as good as a lot of authorized releases ...
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Overview

Bill Karn's Ma Barker's Killer Brood (1959) comes to DVD from Alpha Video in a clean, well-mastered edition that not only looks and sounds surprisingly good but comes with the original trailer! This is as close to an authorized release as Alpha has ever issued -- there are some horizontal scratches adjacent to some of the edit points in the cleanest reels, and the middle reels have some vertical scratches as well, but the picture is always sharp and the source is otherwise as good as a lot of authorized releases of independent movies of the era. This 91-minute movie may be the most ambitious production ever issued by the producers responsible for such masterpieces as The Astounding She-Monster. The six chapters standard to Alpha's DVDs are not remotely adequate to breaking down the plot of this fairly complex movie, which not only runs long by the standards of its time and genre, but also has a plot that moves through several layers of flashback, albeit all linear.
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Special Features

Original theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Fred Beldin
History is undecided about the facts surrounding the legendary Ma Barker. Was she a criminal mastermind or merely the devoted mother to a gang of outlaw sons? The truth is unimportant in this slam-bang crime spree of a film, which is consistently entertaining if not entirely accurate. As Ma (Lurene Tuttle) barks her way through the role with an over-the-top abandon that keeps the action humming. From the very beginning she's busting her "sissy" son's violin and teaching her boys to steal from the church collection plate. Various characters who cross the Barker gang are burned alive, intentionally crushed with automobiles and forced to commit suicide by Russian Roulette, but director Bill Karn achieves a cartoonish tone, despite the mayhem. Notably amusing is the inclusion of every well-known crook of the '30s; Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, and John Dillinger all drop by the Barker hideout to talk shop or have a piece of Ma's famous cherry pie. Roger Corman's 1970 exploitation of the Ma Barker legacy, Bloody Mama may have been sleazier, but Ma Barker's Killer Brood is a top-notch crime fable shot through with panache and deserves its resurrection on various budget-priced DVDs.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/22/2003
  • UPC: 089218420190
  • Original Release: 1960
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 67,319

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Roy Ward Baker Lloyd Barker
Owen Bush Carney
Tristram Coffin Arthur Dunlop
Bill Couch Jr. Guard
Myrna Dell Lou
George Dockstader
Paul Dubov Alvin Karpis
Ron Foster Doc Barker
Byron Foulger Dr. Guelffe
Riley Hill Deputy
Nelson Leigh George Barker
Vic Lundin Machine Gun Kelly
John McNamara Mr. Khortney
Paul Power Minister
Dan Riss Baxter
Wally Rose
Eric Sinclair John Dillinger
Michael G. Smith Fred as a Boy
Donald Spruance Herman Barker
Charles Tannen 1st Sheriff
Donald Towers Lloyd as a Boy
Lurene Tuttle Ma Barker
Dan White 2nd Sheriff
Don Grady Herman as a Boy
Eric Morris Fred Barker
Robert Kendall Baby Face Nelson
Irene Windust Mrs. Khortney
David Carlile Avery
Technical Credits
Bill Karn Director
William Faris Producer
Frank Hall Screenwriter
Gene Kauer Score Composer
Maj. Clark Ramsey Cinematographer
Harry Reif Set Decoration/Design
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [14:10]
2. Chapter 2 [13:09]
3. Chapter 3 [14:03]
4. Chapter 4 [16:01]
5. Chapter 5 [14:22]
6. Chapter 6 [17:33]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
   Catalog
      View Catalog
   Trailer
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